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Making Tax Filing Less Taxing for Seniors

Senior citizens can receive free tax help in Moorestown beginning Feb. 1.

Senior citizen Ruth Cartwright says she'll once again be turning out for tax help when the AARP service begins in Moorestown next month. 

Cartwright, who lives on Wagon Bridge Run—and proudly walks to most of her daily errands—has been taking advantage of the program for more than 10 years.

“The volunteers are skillful and very helpful,” says Cartwright, a senior citizen, whose age remains her own business. And the best part of all, “It’s free.”

Volunteers will be on hand at Hope Community Church, 235 W. Main St., from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Fridays beginning Feb. 1. In past years, the service has been held at the Moorestown Library. In order to sign up for the program, 45-minute appointments must be made through the Moorestown clerk’s office at 856-235-0912, ext. 3016

Since 1968, AARP has been providing free tax counseling geared toward those older than 60. AARP reports that it files taxes for more than 50 million people each year at more than 6,000 sites nationally.

In New Jersey, more than 175 sites offer the service once a week through April 12, traditionally held in libraries, municipal buildings and churches. Because of the current construction occurring at the library and the surrounding area, the free tax service has been moved to Hope Community Church to better accommodate those with canes or walkers. 

Tom Harrigan, a tax volunteer who has worked for the program in Moorestown for the last eight years, says 200 people were serviced last year. Harrigan will be one of seven tax preparers onsite, along with two client facilitators who act as greeters. Those seeking help do not need to be a member of AARP.

“It’s a very good service, and our clients are very appreciative of the help,” says Harrigan, who’s retired from the Navy. “Our volunteers are organized, and many, like myself, have been doing their own taxes for years.”

Harrigan, who also lives in Moorestown, says each year the tax laws seem to change, but the preparers are up-to-date and computer preparation is offered through Tax Wise, Inc. All returns are electronically filed. 

Harrigan catalogued the documents folks must bring to their appointments: 2011 federal and state tax forms; New Jersey homestead rebate forms, including W-2s; 1099s; Social Security forms, as well as personal identification and copies of property tax and water bills.

This year, senior citizen residents from Maple Shade can also sign up for the service.

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